One or Two Colostrum Replacer Feedings?
Neave and Others reported on a study that compared two treatment groups: One group received one 3 -liter colostrum replacer feeding at birth receiving a total of 200 grams of antibodies (IgG). The other group received two 3-liter colostrum feedings, one at birth (200 grams of IgG) and a second at 6 hours after birth.
Here are the results for the two groups at 1, 7, 14, and 28 days of age:
[we like to see serum values above 15 to show successful passive transfer]
Serum Levels (mg/ml)
Day of Blood One Feeding Two Feedings Increase Due to 2nd Feeding
1 20 28 40
7 13 20 54
14 11 16 45
28 8 11 38
Not only does the second feeding result in a 40 percent increase in IgG levels at one day but this improvement persists.
For those dairies giving only one feeding of colostrum replacer with a total of 150 grams, these results should suggest that there would be a significant value in changing the protocol to include a second feeding near the 6 hour threshold.
Reference: H. W. Neave, Z. Cocker, and D. M. Veira, "Two Feedings of Colostrum within 6 Hours of Birth Improves Serum Immunoglobulin G Levels in Dairy Calves Up To 28 Days of Age." Proceedings of Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, March, 2014.